Asking Ma about life in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution.
My mother and I were decorating the Christmas tree during a quiet afternoon last week when I thought to ask her if the sorrow I have been inclined toward postelection is anything like what she experienced during the Cultural Revolution, when she was a teenager. I had flown home to Georgia for Thanksgiving feeling exhausted and emotionally volatile—still trapped in what felt and continues to feel like grief.
“Some of it seems familiar,” she said, “but no, it’s nothing in comparison.”
I asked her what felt the same, as I scooped up a handful of ornaments. Our collection neatly comprises my family’s entire United States’ life: here are a few mice knitted by my grandmother when my parents first arrived in America; a sand dollar tied with a red ribbon from the first church they joined in Kentucky; a bell cut from orange construction paper with a photograph of my pudgy face pasted on it, from 1991. Read More